1st Atlantic Surety Company Logo
Volume 1: Number 2
March 15, 2014
The first Hot Topics For Bail Agents seminar was held on Saturday, March 8th at the Hyatt Place Raleigh West.  Forty-seven Bail Agents attended.  Following the seminar, a poll of these Bail Agents showed that 100% felt the seminar was beneficial and were looking foward to the next Hot Topics event. Highlighting the seminar were presentations by: 1) Brian Shipwash (Clerk of Superior Court, Davidson County, NC); 2) Judge Addie Rawls (11th District Court, Johnston County, NC) and Judge Vince Rozier (10th District Court, Wake County, NC); 3) Rusheem Wynn (Abstract Bail Bonds, Raleigh, NC); and, 4) Linus Matusik (Action Bail Bonds, Carthage, NC). 
Brian Shipwash
"NC Court System Review"
Mr. Shipwash reminded those in attendance that they played a key role in the judicial system by securing the release of pre-trial detainees and guaranteeing their appearance in court.  He praised commercial Bail Agents for working within a system that was well-established and had proven to be efficient.  He also reminded the Bail Agents that their success depended on their ability to get defendants to court on the appointed date and stressed the fact that their business required no funds from taxpayers.  Mr. Shipwash told the attendees that government-funded pre-trial release programs were inefficient and offered statistics to prove it.  Nationally, surety has a 96% appearance rate while pre-trial release programs have only a 65%-72% appearance rate.  According to Mr. Shipwash, pre-trial release programs are equivalent to someone who drives an automobile without auto insurance and never has to pay for any accidents or damages that might occur.  Lastly, Mr. Shipwash encouraged Bail Agents to remember that they were insurance agents and stressed the importance of having appropriate relationships with the clerks and judges with whom they had to interact.  Some of the ways that these relationships might be created and/or improved is having a more professional physical appearance when interacting with the court system, being thoroughly knowledgeable of what is expected in each court room in which the Bail Agent conducts her/his business, and being extemely accurate when submitting any paperwork to the court.
Judge Rawls & Judge Rozier
"View From The Bench"
Both Judge Addie Rawls and Judge Vince Rozier reported that they respected the work done in their courts by Bail Agents.  They addressed the correct procedures for filing "set asides" in their respective courts, explained why the process was different in each county in the state, reviewed some common mistakes made by Bail Agents when filing "set asides" and described how these mistake might be avoided. Judge Rawls and Judge Rozier also encouraged Bail Agents to become more knowlegable about the judiciary with whom they worked and stressed the importance of becoming more involved with the court system.  They also emphasized the need to educate those working within the court system and the general public about the good work being done by Bail Agents.
Rusheem Wynn
"Best Practices For Bail Agents"
Mr. Wynn stressed the necessity for Bail Agents to become more organized in their day-to-day operations.  He urged them to utilize bond powers in sequence, explained the benefits of using a bond power tracking system, reminded them that by asking the right questions during the initial interview they could avoid being "surprised" if it became necessary to locate the defendant after a FTA, and stressed the need to document everything in writing.  Mr. Wynn also asked the Bail Agents to consider bond powers to be cash, not just pieces of paper and emphasized the fact that having a number of forfeitures to go to final judgement could wreck a bail bonding business.  He told those assembled that they could either be: 1) thorough and careful; or, 2) careless.  But, they could not be both at the same time.  Being "careful" and not "careless" will pay dividends in the long run.
Thought For Today
If You Procrastinate Today,
You May Panic Tomorrow!
Linus Matusik
"Bail Fugitive Recovery"
Mr. Matusik reviewed several "Safety Tips" for those who are involved in Bail Fugitive Recovery.

Research The Law: Most jurisdictions have strict laws regarding the apprehension of a defendant who has a "FTA".  Ignorance of these laws is no defense in court.  If you don't know the extent of your authority, you might cross the line and wind up in difficulty.

Know The Suspect: Bail Agents who pursue defendants who have failed to appear in court must always know who they are trying to apprehend.  This knowledge will help you to avoid unfortunate situations in which you approach the wrong individual.  It could also help you to avoid injury in a confrontational situation.

Work As A Team Member:  Working alone is not a wise thing to do.  Working in a "team" allows you to take the time needed to assess each situation for any safety concerns and helps to prevent violence by apprehending the defendant in a large group.

Involve Local Authorities: Bail agents are extraordinarily skilled and capable individuals, but there are some situations that require the assistance of the local authorities.  Don't be shy about asking for help when you find yourself in a situation that requres assistance.

Conduct Yourself Properly: Maintaining a professional approach at all times may help you to apprehend the defendant without having to become physical.  Asserting your authority by projecting a professional image is preferred to attempting to bully or intimidate the defendant.

Carry A Weapon: Carrying a weapon may be in your best interest when prusuing a potentially confrontational or violent defendant, as long as your are proficient with the weapon and know the laws regarding its use in your jurisdiction.  The last thing you want is to use excessive force when the situation does not require it.
Is It Your "Job" Or Your "Practice"
Retail Bail Agents who have established a relationship with 1st Atlantic Surety were asked at the "Hot Topics" seminar to consider their businesses as a "practice" and not just a job.  Traditionally, the three professions thought to be "practices" were the ministry, the law, and medicine.  Like those who are involved in these three professions, Bail Agents are involved in their businesses on a full-time basis, have recognized entry-level and ongoing (CE) training programs, participate in both state and national professional organizations, subscribe to a published code of ethics, and must adhere to state licensing laws.  For these reasons, Bail Agents should consider themselves as "professionals" in every sense of the word and should conduct themselves accordingly.  The seminar moderator asked Bail Agents to speak out about the contributions their profession offered to the community and to promote the benefits of having a active commercial bail bonding industry in the Tar Heel State.

In addtion to this newsletter and the series of "Hot Topics" seminars, 1st Atlantic Surety Company will attempt to develop promotional vehicles designed to assist retail Bail Agents in improving relations with the judiciary and the general public.  If you have an interest in participating in these endeavors, please contact our corporate office or your 1st Atlantic Surety Company representatrive.
Editor: Dave Rock, Jr. - Senior Vice-President
drockjr@1statlanticsurety.com - Cell: 919-414-3445
The next
will be held
AUGUST 9, 2014

710 Corporate Center Dr.
Raleigh, NC 27607
In This Issue
1st Atlantic Surety Company Responsibility
The information contained herein is not advice and should not be treated as such.  You must not rely on the information in this newsletter as an alternative to legal advice from a qualified professional. 

If you have any specific questions about any legal matter, you should consult an appropriately qualified professional.

The information presented in this newsletter is as timely and accurate as 1st Atlantic Surety Company can make it.  However, the Company makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the contents and expressly disclaims liability for errors and omissions in the contents of this newsletter. 
1st Atlantic
Surety Company
Newsletter Distribution

This series of newsletters will be distributed via e-mail to General Agents who are appointed with 1st Atlantic Surety Company.  The General Agents can feel free to distribute to their Sub-Agents via e-mail or print as they deem most appropriate.

The Management Team of 1st Atlantic Surety ask those who receive  the newsletter to let us know if the information presented is of value to you. 

We will also appreciate it if you will let us know of any issues you would like to have addressed in either the newsletter format or during one of the "Hot Topics For Bail Agents" seminars. 

Address your comments to Dave Rock, Jr., Senior Vice-President, 1st Atlantic Surety Co., PO Box 110, Raleigh, NC 27602-0110. 
Forfeiture Tip
 Some defendants don't consider failing to appear in court to be a "big problem".  They either may not fully understand the consequences of missing their court date or they just don't care.  They may think that having a sick relative, car trouble, job interview, doctor's appointment, etc. on the day of their appointed time in court is more important and an acceptable excuse.  They may not realize that there is no acceptable excuse for failing to appear and may not understand the jeopardy in which they have placed themselves.

Shortly after their FTA, defendants will more than likely receive a forfeiture notice in the mail.  This will, no doubt, be followed by letters from attorneys offering their assistance.  The defendant may even receive a telephone call or visit from the local police.  This activity will help to create a sense of urgency in the mind of the defendant and co-signer.  It will be to the Bail Agent's advantage to have a conversation with the defendant to coincide with these events. You can offer to go to the jail with the defendant to surrender her/himself and offer to bond her/'him out on the FTA, assuming that this individual is considered to be "low-risk". Whatever action you decide to take, the FTA has placed both the defendant and the Bail Agent at risk and resolving the FTA must be a matter of high priority.
1st Atlantic Surety Company| | drockjr@1statlanticsurety.com |
Join Our Mailing List

Copyright © 20XX. All Rights Reserved.